It's against my religion.

What does this even means these days? So many practices that were necessary hundreds and thousands of years ago for survival or hygiene are still being passed down generations in the name of religion.

Why do some people follow these practices without questioning them? The whole period debate these days got me thinking about what else we just don't question

40 days rest after birth Take for example, in the Hindu and Sikh religions women after giving birth must refrain from entering the kitchen. I was told this was due the bleeding cos you are on your period and unclean 40 days, plus you need to rest up and let your body recover. I also wasn't allowed out. I was stuck indoors for 40 days.

First time round I respected the request and stayed at my in-laws whilst they cooked and cleaned. But when I had my second we lived in our own place. No one came round to cook and clean for us, so it fell on me to get on with things- Safe to say that no-one caught the lergy and I recovered quicker by staying active.

Sit out during your period Being a Sikh girl, I was brought up on the principles that women are equal to men. What man can do - women certainly can do!
I went to the Sikh temple through most of my late teens, prepared Langar from the early hours for the congregation- every weekend- no exceptions, no even when I was on my period.

When I married into a Hindu family I was a little set back when I had to announce to the household that I was on my period so the family could close the temple room in their house. I wasn't allowed near house plants and early on I wasn't allowed to cook and touch anyone in the house.
I felt so violated, that something so intimate, was everyone business. And it didn't stop there, it got worse. If there was a family function, religious or baby related I wasn't allowed to go. If anyone asked where I was my in-laws would tell them that I was on my period. There's a way to say it, that I'm 'sitting out' for the week, meaning I was on my period.

Great! The whole extended family knew my bodily functions now.

Needless to say once we moved out we have not continued these practices in our household. I have a temple room in my house and it stays open 24/7. We have plants I touch them and talk to them everyday and since I am surrounded by men they're all fine and no-one has caught the lergy cos I touched them or their food.

No garlic please
Another example is that some Hindu's won't consume garlic because it grow near graveyards- Ummmm I don't thing so! The garlic I consume was grown by a farmer in a field- let's get a grip people.

No onion please
Some won't consume onions as the onion rolled off the plate when it was offered to god as part of a meal. So did no-one employe some common sense to slice up the onion?  Clearly not and the poor onion has been marked as an omen since.

Shouldn't wash your hair on a Thursday
So Thursday is called Veervar, veer means brother so Thursday is considered your brothers day and if you wash your hair it's bad him. Well I've been washing my hair on a Thursday for the last 19 years and both of my brothers are perfectly fine. Another load of crap fed to protect the males in the family.

Shouldn't put oil on a Saturday
Growing up I fed may hair lots of oil, not out of choice. But Saturday was out of bounds, I never got a reason why. Nowadays I do put oil on my hair if Im staying home for the day, to nourish it.

Don't eat meat on a Sunday and Monday
So in our home we had meat free Mondays but I know some other families had meat free Sundays, Sundays is considered a gods day, its the day everyone is off work and will go to pay their respects at the temple, much like going to Church on a Sunday. Sundays these days tends to be fry up day in our house unless we have a religious function to go to.

Don't cut your nails in the evening or at night or leave them lying on the floor
Apparently if you cut your nails in the evening and leave them lying on the floor, they will hurt blind people? My theory behind this is in the old days light sources would have been scarce so it was a way not to do the task in low light. And not leaving them lying around was a simple hygiene solution. 

Don't cut your hair we are sikhs.
Sikhs came about to protect families against injustice and the religion challenges many Muslim and Hindu practices. As well as equality between men and women, they sought an identity that would make them stand out from the crowd. This is where the turban, beard, 5 k's where developed. 
A uniform to stand out from the crowd. But for us women that also means no threading, waxing, shaving or styling our hair with feathers and layers. I cut my hair now, does that make me any less of a Sikh? I don't believe so. I follow the primary founding principles of the religion which still fit into todays' society.

Shouldn't leave shoes turned upside down, it's bad luck.
I've heard my MIL say this so many times, but again I think this was in response to hygiene and keeping the home organised.

Shouldn't go over someones legs, they won't grow
My siblings and I did this all the time, I am 5' 5'' and both of my brothers are way taller than me so clearly nothing happened to either of us here.

Don't show your legs
When I hit 11 I was no longer allowed to wear shorts and skirts for PE and I was told this was because we are Sikhs and we practice modesty. Now that I was becoming an adult I needed to comply with these practices. In reality I had hit puberty and it was a way to make me less sexualised.

No more singing and dancing
As a child I was a very creative, I sang, I dance, and performed, but that all stopped as I got older. I wasn't allowed to pursue my love for the piano and Bhangra dancing, or being in the school choir as it wasn't the done thing in Sikh families. singing and dancing was the work of courtesans.

I'm sure there are so many others we just followed like sheep without challenging them. Many have nothing to do with religion, but it's time we started to challenge these practices and ask for a logical explanation. Something that may have made sense 100's of years ago doesn't now.


Popular Posts